In the beginning, people shopped online because it was “cheaper;” the thinking was that online stores didn’t have the same cost overheads brick-and-mortars had and so they passed on the savings to consumers. This probably was the case, and it likely still is, to some extent.

But the past ten years has brought fierce competition for online dollars, and the online shopping experience is constantly evolving.

Today, “cheap” is not the only (or even the most important) reason why we shop online: Convenience, selection, delivery speed, and even belonging to a “community” of like-minded shoppers (think KarmaLoop and Apple) are today’s reasons for much of the money being spent online.

Getting good, if not stellar service online is more and more important to consumers. Today, if the service sucks, you won’t go back.

Today, The Dila View highlights the launch of a new firm —STELLAService.com–which brings objectivity and transparency to assessing and rating online customer experience on the Internet.

STELLA–launching today–will analyze and rate all online businesses and give each one a STELLARating (a number from 0 -100) indicating how good (or poor) its online service is. Formed in April 2009, the company’s Advisory Council and highly trained analysts represent today’s thought-leaders in the area of online customer service, and bring this focus to bear on the independent STELLARating methodology.

Consumers can look for the STELLASeal on websites and will be able to recognize quality online service immediately–and avoid those companies with poor scores.

In turn, low scores will help poor-performing companies identify weaknesses, improve their service, and attract more customers (especially repeat customers!).

In March, STELLAService’s CEO, Jordy Leiser, commissioned an independent research survey “to examine the value of great customer service in the U.S. economy, with a particular focus on how great customer service impacts the online retail category.” The research concludes:

“Consumers in the online retail category are willing to pay even more (10.7%) for great service, which should come as no surprise given the comfort and peace of mind that most consumers want while purchasing from the seemingly distant and remote online marketplace.”

View the results and dollar figures (it’s not a small number)!

Now that the firm has officially launched, watch for the STELLASeal on sites where you intend to shop. If you see it, you’ll know someone you can trust has closely evaluated the company and has rated its performance.

STELLAService would love your comment and feedback. You can find us on FB, Titter, and all the usual places, or you can contact me directly (jd@stellaservice.com).

© 2009 John Dila

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